Jeni coached high school basketball for 24 years accruing an impressive 332 – 206 record along the way. Her career coaching highlights include final four appearances, state runner-up and showmanship awards, and coaching some of the top-talent in the country. She is still actively involved in the basketball world from advocating on behalf of coaches to color commentary for high school games to a bi-weekly basketball luncheon. She also has her own radio show and, for the second time this year, I was a guest. I have a face perfect for facial recognition software (no haircuts, no beards) and great for radio (no blinding reflection).
My first time on Jeni’s show, titled “A Coach’s Perspective, I talked about my Royals super-fandom on the same day I played catch with Coach Guttin. I met Don (Day #44) at that panel, which led to a game of catch on the first day of spring training and, I’m convinced, his first title in the Fun Acre Open.
Before the show, Jeni and I met in the parking lot for catch. She put on her running shoes, the ones that matched her daughter’s shoes, the ones that carried her over the hills and through the woods for a 10K, which sounded like something my pastor would do. Definitely not something I would do.
“Corey (Day #236) saw my gloves in my car just the other day and asked what they were doing in there. I’m always ready for a game of catch.”
Busier now than she was during her coaching days, Jeni talked about the joy of meeting new people through sports and it reminded me a lot of Catch 365. And then Jeni asked the hardest question. Thankfully, there was no mic in front of me.
“I played catch better than Corey, right?”
One of the most important things playing catch teaches is cooperation before competition, establishing a relationship of trust, laying a foundation for teamwork. Playing catch is absolutely not about comparison or judgment. It’s about having fun, taking an intentional break from the stress and seriousness of life. Playing catch is away from screens and fully engaging life now, forgetting tomorrow’s worries and yesterday’s mistakes.
I shared the studio with Lisa and Caleb (Day #261) and RedLine Athletics and practiced my co-host skills. I tried hard not to say anything.
And then came the same question on the air.
You are the best Coach Jeni I’ve ever had as a catch-partner.
I promised to come back at year’s end and drove home under skies that looked like they were painted by Bob Ross.